When it comes to bringing out-of-the-country ideas into our festivals in the United States, we need to do a lot of research. There are many kinds of European traditions that are used within our borders. One of those traditions is Oktoberfest brought in from Germany.
Oktoberfest is a yearly autumn festival held in Munich, Germany from late September to early October featuring the drinking of craft beers. This German tradition started on October 12, 1810 due to the union of Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig, and Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen. This couple decided to celebrate their union with an everyday gala for the masses, which no modern-day wedding crashers could invade. The people of Munich were all invited to this celebration. A century after the original Bavarian fest, America started hosting its own Oktoberfest celebrations. (Source: https://www.rightathome.net/blog/the-history-of-the-us-oktoberfest)
With all the excitement that is brought with Oktoberfest, there are a few details that we need to keep in mind when hosting this yearly event. How do we wear the traditional lederhosen/dirndls that make this German festival livelier?
Let’s start with the lederhosen. Lederhosen are a type of German dress worn predominately by men. The word “lederhosen,” meaning “leather trousers,” were the everyday work attire of men in Austria and Southern Germany (mainly Bavaria). Wearing lederhosen are for life, and never get cleaned. Selecting your lederhosen is very important. You must make sure your shorts are to the knee when seated, and that they fit tightly around the thighs. This is important because the leather will begin to stretch as you wear them, and saggy lederhosen is not the way to go.
Next, we have dirndls. A dirndl is a traditional German dress worn by women in the 19th century. Basically, the counterpart of lederhosen. Dirndls are much more complicated to put on than lederhosen. There are three parts to a dirndl, but four steps to putting them on.
- Pushing up the girls is the first, and biggest step to putting this traditional German dress on.
- Put on the blouse. Each dirndl has a cropped blouse that is adjustable in the center.
- Squeeze into the dress. A traditional dirndl is patterned in plaid. It should zip up in the back and tie down in the front.
- Tying on the apron: To do this, you typically wrap it around the back and tie a bow in the front. However, when tying the bow in the front, you must make sure your bow is on the correct side. Tying it on the left means you’re single. Tying it on the right means you’re taken.
After you’ve put on your dirndl, you can choose to accessorize it. Many German women like to wear small suede purses. Another accessory would be a necklace with a large charm (kette) is a must. (Source: https://welcometogermerica.com/2013/11/how-to-wear-a-dirndl.html)